Freescale announces new fast & cheap e-reader processor

Freescale announced today a new processor called i.MX508 targeted for e-readers. The processor is based on an ARM A8 core and includes an E Ink controller. Freescale says that the chip is fast (800Mhz), efficient and cheap (less than $10 in large volumes). In fact they say that this chip can enable $150 e-readers.

The new chip is faster than Freescale's previous e-reader chips (used in the Amazon Kindle and Sony's Readers, for example) which can result in faster page refresh and can enable new features. As the chip includes an E Ink controller, USB and NAND memory it can help reduce the price of the final product.

Interestingly, the chip includes a special e-reader power mode, in which it can turn-off when users are reading a page to save power, and only operate at full-speed when users want to turn a page or perform an operation.

The i.MX508 is expected to sample in 3Q 2010, and freescale (together with E Ink) are offering a dev-platform (called SABRE) which costs $1995 and is available now.

Posted: Mar 01,2010 by Ron Mertens